What Will Be the Cost of the First Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill?

Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill, is set to hit drugstores, grocery stores and online shelves in the first quarter of 2024. But the real challenge lies ahead: Will it be affordable and truly accessible to all?

For years, reproductive health advocates have argued that removing the time-consuming requirement for a prescription to access birth control pills would improve accessibility and allow people greater autonomy in their contraceptive choices. 

Opill is a progestin-only oral contraceptive pill, boasting a success rate as high as 98 percent in preventing pregnancies.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hailed the approval of Opill as a breakthrough that could “reduce barriers to access” for those seeking contraception. 

Perrigo Company, the pharmaceutical company behind Opill, has committed to improving access to contraception in alignment with the FDA. “Perrigo is proud to lead the way in making contraception more accessible to women in the U.S.,” said Murray Kessler, president and CEO of Perrigo, in a 2023 press release. “We are motivated by the millions of people who need easy access to safe and effective contraception.”

However, the promise of accessibility hinges on the crucial factor of affordability.

A Once-a-Week Contraceptive Pill, Without Side Effects? Yes, Mifepristone.

Research has for decades indicated that mifepristone may be a safe and effective contraceptive, but no one has conducted a large clinical trial to produce the proof that could form the basis for government approval of the drug for this use. Until now.

Pioneering reproductive health advocate Dr. Rebecca Gomperts is now leading a clinical trial of a low dose of the abortion medication mifepristone for use as a weekly contraceptive pill. 

Far-Right Players Behind Latest Attacks on Abortion in Emergencies

In April, the nation’s highest Court will hear a pair of cases that will determine whether the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) preempts state laws that impede emergency abortions needed to protect the health of pregnant people even if they are not on the brink of death. 

Both of these cases have ties to the main anti-abortion zealots that helped overturn Roe: Leonard Leo and Alliance Defending Freedom. 

Keeping Score: CEO of the NRA Resigns; Texas Lawyers Call on Texas Medical Board for Abortion Guidance; Two Pending Abortion Supreme Court Cases

In every issue of Ms.., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Supreme Court agrees to hear two abortion cases this spring; sexist jokes and major wins at the Golden Globes; Brittany Watts not indicted after a miscarriage; West Virginia introduces harsh new anti-trans bills; advocates from Florida to California are working to expand abortion access; new studies on mental health during and after pregnancy; and more.

Biden Administration Announces New Steps to Protect Abortion and Reproductive Health Access

In the midst of Republican elected officials “sowing chaos” in a “quest to ban abortion nationwide,” the Biden administration announced this week it is taking steps to help improve Americans’ reproductive healthcare access—including expanding coverage for no-cost contraception, increasing patient and provider awareness of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), safeguarding medication abortion access, and prosecuting violence against clinics and healthcare providers.

Six Things You May Not Know About Abortion

After reading about Kate Cox’s unsuccessful efforts to obtain an abortion in Texas, I needed an outlet for my ire. I took to social media, where I found reprehensible comments about abortion on Threads. I responded to them. I schooled my interlocutors with facts and links to research. I dazzled them with my correct grammar. I received tens of likes.

You may be shocked to learn that I changed no one’s mind. I was nevertheless surprised by some people’s misconceptions about abortion—many of which appeared to be shared by pro- and anti-abortion individuals. In the spirit of clearing the cobwebs out of our collective discourse, here are a few facts about abortion that have not been widely reported—starting with the fact that most people who obtain abortion care in America report using contraception in the month in which they became pregnant.

Documentary ‘Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird’ Explores the Fight for Birth Control Access and the Road Ahead

Bill Baird, the man who successfully challenged the U.S. law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, is the subject of Rebecca Cammisa’s powerful documentary, Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird. The film sounds a loud and dire warning about the need for reproductive justice advocates to remain vigilant and active if we want to keep the rights we currently have. This, Baird cautions, requires us to pay attention to politics at the local, state and federal levels. 

“The world is on fire,” Baird says in the film’s final frame. “Freedom is on fire.” Nonetheless, he makes clear that he has already done what he could. It’s now our job to drown the flames and continue the fight for bodily autonomy, human rights and liberation.

Keeping Score: Arizona Supreme Court Weighs 1864-Era Abortion Ban; Kate Cox Is Denied an Abortion; Women Call Out Toxic Workplaces

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Texas Supreme Court blocks Kate Cox from receiving an abortion; judge prohibits Trump-era policy of separating families at the border; women call out toxic workplaces, from New Jersey police to banking regulator FDIC; President Biden appoints record number of women and people of color as federal judges; young Americans are excited to vote in 2024; guaranteed income programs may help maternal health outcomes; and more.

The First ‘Health’ COP Must Prioritize Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Young People

The 28th U.N. Climate Climate Change Conference (COP) currently meeting in Dubai until Dec. 12, is being hailed as the “Health COP”––promising to bring the climate and health agenda into the mainstream. Yet we are seeing almost no direct focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is a critical gap because climate change creates barriers to fulfilling those rights.